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#1 Mike Nichols

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:18 AM

Okay,

I hear all this talk about how much more likely a film sale is when you shoot on film opposed to HD. In this scenario, are you delivering a finished negative? I mean, if you shoot HD and output to film with a high visual fidelity, who cares about acquisition? Conversely (did I use that right???) If you shoot a film on 35mm and finish to an HD or 2K master, did you hurt your chances of a sale?
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:55 AM

Okay,

I hear all this talk about how much more likely a film sale is when you shoot on film opposed to HD. In this scenario, are you delivering a finished negative? I mean, if you shoot HD and output to film with a high visual fidelity, who cares about acquisition? Conversely (did I use that right???) If you shoot a film on 35mm and finish to an HD or 2K master, did you hurt your chances of a sale?


Well you would only be delivering a 35mm print in the event of a wide theatrical release, and I assume we are talking about a low budget indie here so the chances of that are slim.

In my experience, having been through this, 35mm is still the king if you can do it. The problem is that the market is just saturated with thousands of indie movies shot on HD. Shooting on 35mm sets you apart from the pack, generally speaking more advanced filmmakers shoot on 35mm in the indie world. "Generally" speaking.

35mm to HD is perfectly fine, that is how the film will be delivered 99% of the time. Like I said a print is only needed for theatrical release and that is rare.

I was at AFM in Nov with my film, believe me you need every edge you can get, you'll be up against thousands and thousands of movies. It really is incredible! I sat in on meetings for my movie between buyers and the sales company, I heard more than one buyer say when my trailer came up, "Oh this was shot on 35." Buyers do notice.

R,
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#3 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:14 PM

What matters more than format is a great story with name talent. If you don't have this, you will be reduced to "it was shot on 35" as your sole advantage.
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#4 Mike Nichols

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:19 PM

What matters more than format is a great story with name talent. If you don't have this, you will be reduced to "it was shot on 35" as your sole advantage.


I would agree with you there, but some (most) times, sales are made with the buyer not even looking past a one sheet and trailer!

Richard, who sold your film at AFM?

Edited by Mike Nichols, 05 March 2008 - 12:20 PM.

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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:22 PM

What matters more than format is a great story with name talent. If you don't have this, you will be reduced to "it was shot on 35" as your sole advantage.


A name talent is definitely a plus that is for sure. But on a simple "format-to-format" contest, 35mm stills trumps HD from what I have seen.

The first two questions are always, who's in it? and what was it shot on?

Buyers started asking the second question once DV movies started to flood the market place.

R,
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:33 PM

I would agree with you there, but some (most) times, sales are made with the buyer not even looking past a one sheet and trailer!

Richard, who sold your film at AFM?


Well you're right about that, great art and a slick trailer is what makes sales at the film markets ie AFM and Cannes. The buyers may be taking 150 meetings and seeing hundreds of movies, obviously they can't watch them all from start to finish. There is no time any way, once a territory is sold it's sold, so they gotta move quick.

Sales Trailers are cut specifically for buyers so that they get enough of a feel for the movie to buy it on the spot.

So having a name talent is still a major plus. The old trick now is to hire a "washed up" name actor for three days, put them in a few scenes spread through out the movie. Then you put this actor on your poster/DVD cover art and bingo, done!

David Carradine is by far the most in demand for this sort of thing. Mainly because he is so famous globally and well known for genre movies. The key is to find some one on your budget that works in the USA and internationally.

Remember that most of your sales will be OUTside the USA, the USA is only one territory of the 50 or so recognized territories.

I hear stories all the time of people hiring "troubled" actors for a day so they can quote, "get bail money." I won't provide a list as this is a public forum :D

R,
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#7 Tim Partridge

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 01:29 PM

So having a name talent is still a major plus. The old trick now is to hire a "washed up" name actor for three days, put them in a few scenes spread through out the movie. Then you put this actor on your poster/DVD cover art and bingo, done!


I wouldn't call her "washed up", but:

http://twitchfilm.ne.../dr_fugazzi.jpg

http://www.genegeneration.com/

The ultimate in no-budget shame:


This could be in the same category (she's here again but with CARRADINE!!), or it might even be a genuine movie!:

http://www.fashionthemovie.com/
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#8 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 01:40 PM

What matters more than format is a great story with name talent. If you don't have this, you will be reduced to "it was shot on 35" as your sole advantage.


Some people seem to repeat this sentiment again and again and again, however the cinemas and DVD retailers are far from full of moving and original stories shot on handy cams, unfortunatly audiences expect a certain level of production value.

A somewhat legendary Director of Photography once told me that the audience expects a level of quality, though what they are willing to accept may sometimes vary according to the genre or the type of story.

However its nice to see an original little film getting through every now and again.
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#9 Richard Boddington

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 01:47 PM

Some people seem to repeat this sentiment again and again and again, however the cinemas and DVD retailers are far from full of moving and original stories shot on handy cams, unfortunatly audiences expect a certain level of production value.

A somewhat legendary Director of Photography once told me that the audience expects a level of quality, though what they are willing to accept may sometimes vary according to the genre or the type of story.

However its nice to see an original little film getting through every now and again.


The problem started with the success of DV shot movies like Open Water, Blair Witch, and Once. Filmmakers started saying, "Ah ha we can shoot on DV and still make millions!"

The issue is that the hits shot on DV are not statistically relevant, so to make a format choice based on that would not be wise.

R.
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#10 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 02:08 PM

The problem started with the success of DV shot movies like Open Water, Blair Witch, and Once. Filmmakers started saying, "Ah ha we can shoot on DV and still make millions!"

The issue is that the hits shot on DV are not statistically relevant, so to make a format choice based on that would not be wise.

R.


Yes, its interesting how the same situation never occured, pre-DV. Were there any indie-hits shot on Betacam SP?

After all the quality of Betacam and DV are somewhat similar.
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#11 Richard Boddington

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 02:35 PM

Yes, its interesting how the same situation never occured, pre-DV. Were there any indie-hits shot on Betacam SP?

After all the quality of Betacam and DV are somewhat similar.


Yeah but you can't do those wild, "palm held" shots with a BetaCam. It's a heavy beast.

Of course the post aspect of DV was also a break through with the advent of home based NLE sys. You can literally cut your DV movie for free! Even add effects, titles, and music!

When I was doing corporate video on Beta SP in the early 90s, an hour of editing Beta SP to 1" was still $200-$300 an hour. With Beta SP you still needed the decks and controllers, this would all cost a big chunk of money vs installing FCP on your Mac :blink:

R,
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#12 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 02:57 PM

When I was doing corporate video on Beta SP in the early 90s, an hour of editing Beta SP to 1" was still $200-$300 an hour. With Beta SP you still needed the decks and controllers, this would all cost a big chunk of money vs installing FCP on your Mac :blink:


Hence why people suddenly think everything can be done for nothing!

:lol:
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#13 Matt Pacini

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 06:28 PM

I've never seen anything decent looking on DV.

After Blair Witch Project, all you heard was "It doesn't matter what format you shoot on!", and "it's a whole new era in filmmaking now, the big guys are shaking in their boots" blah blah blah.
You don't hear that crap anymore, do you?
It's because now, just as then, most video movies suck harder than most film movies.
It's extremely rare when something shot on DV is worth watching.
And the distributors know that more than anyone, because they're the ones having to wade through this tsunami of excrement that is "the DV revolution".

MP
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#14 John Brawley

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 06:41 PM

Yes, its interesting how the same situation never occured, pre-DV. Were there any indie-hits shot on Betacam SP?

After all the quality of Betacam and DV are somewhat similar.



I think there's one word to explain it.

Digital.

It's a much abused word. Lot's of people assume it makes everything better. People even shoot *digital* these days.

What does that mean ?

I think the word digital has embraced a whole lot of technologies and people assume digital means better. You see digital written on everything now.

There's a digital tripod...does that mean it only has one leg ???

There's digital headphones. Presumably you listen to fax machine tones and do the D to A in your head....

It's written on everything. Just like *Automatic* was written on everything in the 50's/ 60's and *Turbo* was on everything in the 80's

It's a word that means nothing.

In fact I would argue....When film is scanned or telecine'd, how is that not as digital as something that was orginated using a digital camera and then transferred to a digital storage format.

If i shoot super 8 and telecine to HDCAM SR isn't that....Digital ???

jb
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#15 Rick Dawes

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 01:08 AM

I've never seen anything decent looking on DV.

After Blair Witch Project, all you heard was "It doesn't matter what format you shoot on!", and "it's a whole new era in filmmaking now, the big guys are shaking in their boots" blah blah blah.
You don't hear that crap anymore, do you?
It's because now, just as then, most video movies suck harder than most film movies.
It's extremely rare when something shot on DV is worth watching.
And the distributors know that more than anyone, because they're the ones having to wade through this tsunami of excrement that is "the DV revolution".

MP



Hi Folks. A newbie here.

A friend of mine has decided to make his first movie and has tagged me to be his cinematographer and like so many of those other indie filmmakers we will be using a "digital" video camera. When finished we, like so many others, do hope to have our movie picked up for distribution. Our reason for going digital is of course cost but, also control. By having all of the gear at home we are not as rushed as we might be if in a film editing suite paying a couple of hundred dollars per hour to edit. Or, as worried about doing another take if we were paying for film. Therefore we have the time to do things right.

Now having said that, I must say that agree with the above statement, that most of what the amateur/indie crowd is putting out is total crap. I'm forty seven years old and have had a love affair with movies all my life. I remember seeing Mary Poppins in the theatre as a child as well as Planet of the Apes and Patton. I think that what is wrong with shooting on DV, HD, or whatever has nothing to do with format but rather training and talent and a simple willingness to learn. I have watched friends of mine work on their own projects taking no time to learn how to work with the camera other than hitting record and recording very yellow, blue, or green images becausee they didn't know enough to white balance the camera. I think that if you were to take any one of you and put you in charge of a no budget indie project it would come out looking completely professional no matter what you were recording with. And, I think that is why distributors may over look DV projects. DV is cheap enough that you can pay for it yourself where as working in 35mm is expensive enough that you probably had to convince an investor that you and your crew are good enough to make that money back and so you likely hired the best crew you could afford, i.e. professonals.


Open Water was one of the inspirations for our writer/director to make this movie. He thought that if something so badly written and acted could make it, he could too. Having grown up watching (and paying attention to) the work of professionals I saw nothing but problems and mistakes from the first edit on and couldn't watch past the first twenty minutes. My resolve as the cinematographer for this project is not to impress anyone but, to simply not suck!

I am taking the time to learn from all of you and practice and read. That makes no guarantees of course, but helps. If more amatuers would read "The Five C's of Cinematography" maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't all suck so badly.

Rick.
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#16 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 11:31 AM

"When finished we, like so many others, do hope to have our movie picked up for distribution."

Well what kind of distribution? On the shelf at every Blockbuster store in the country?

If you are spending under $10,000.00 on this then I would not worry. If you are spending 100K or more you should know that a DV movie with no name actors has basically zero chance of distribution success. Unless you hit the lottery like Open Water or Blair Witch.

You'll find that:

"He thought that if something so badly written and acted could make it, he could too."

Simply won't cut it. Every one thinks they can do better than so & so.

I have been in the distribution trenches and I have been to AFM. The market is just flooded with thousands of low budget DV movies, no one can keep up. The buyers are as a rule very weary of these types of movies now. People will actually complain now to Blockbuster when they return movies like this, and Blockbuster doesn't like that.

Your best chance with this format is to do a genre zombie movie with lots of gore and T&A. At least this way there is a built in market for it with males 14-24. Put it in some slick packaging and you're away!

Sorry to be harsh, but at 47 I'm sure you don't want things sugar coated.

R,
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#17 Rick Dawes

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 10:10 PM

Actually, I am very gratefull for your candor, Mr. Boddington. And I agree that with no recognizable actors or other big names, chances are slim. Especially working with DV. And that is actually my point really. Because professionals rarely present their work on DV, it is seen as the format of bad amateur movies, and granted, most are bad. However, for those of us who don't yet have the backing to do film, DV gives us a format that we can afford to work with. DV also provides us the opportunity to add production value on a level we could never hope for in film. We can do colour correction, virtual sets, space battles, and ADR. Eventually, the goal with time and practice is to make something good enough to slip through the cracks and be seen by people such as yourself at a film festival, perhaps, and then maybe to Blockbuster:) . The other hope is that by shooting a complete project, you show that you can actually finish something and have it be worth watching. Then perhaps, someone will be willing to invest enough to get name actors and shoot in 35mm.
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#18 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 11:49 PM

Actually, I am very gratefull for your candor, Mr. Boddington. And I agree that with no recognizable actors or other big names, chances are slim. Especially working with DV. And that is actually my point really. Because professionals rarely present their work on DV, it is seen as the format of bad amateur movies, and granted, most are bad. However, for those of us who don't yet have the backing to do film, DV gives us a format that we can afford to work with. We can do colour correction, virtual sets, space battles, and ADR. Eventually, the goal with time and practice is to make something good enough to slip through the cracks and be seen by people such as yourself at a film festival, perhaps, and then maybe to Blockbuster:) . The other hope is that by shooting a complete project, you show that you can actually finish something and have it be worth watching. Then perhaps, someone will be willing to invest enough to get name actors and shoot in 35mm.


Well you can't lose by creating "some thing." The experience alone will be worth it, you are quite correct in that shooting a complete project has value, it definitely does. Far better than having nothing to show, which is where 99% of "filmmakers" are at.

At the very least you can four wall a local theater and get a good audience out to see it.

I'm not sure what you mean here though?

"DV also provides us the opportunity to add production value on a level we could never hope for in film."

You can do all of these things (colour correction, virtual sets, space battles, and ADR.) on your list with film.

R,

PS: Who's "Mr. Boddington"? I only make Stephen Williams address me as "Mr. Boddington." :D
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#19 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 03:32 AM

The problem is also in addition to people spitting out anything that resembles a film on video no matter HOW bad it is, is that video looks like video. I've heard more than once how bad Inland Empire looks from several people. Now if a master like David Lynch, who is possible the greatest visual filmmaker alive can't make make video work.....something to think about and also Blair Witch was an adoration that will probably never be duplicated. It's real genius was in marketing it's concept. It took years of internet hype to get it sold. It's worth a look for that reason alone because it could inspire someone to think outside the box and create an equally brilliant marketing campaign that will give similar results.

The film business is ethereal, it's built out of smoke and mirrors, the perception of success breeds success. Part of the reason video is hard to sell is because of the perception of video as an amateur format. I'm sure there are a LOT of films made that are great, that never get seen because they're serious subjects without any kitchy elements and name actors shot on video whilst other HORRIBLE wastes of celluloid are spit out and gobbled up by distributors simply because they are shot on 35, have a name in them and follow are prescribed formula IE tits and ass, lots of blood etc, etc, etc. The first thing you need to realize is it's business and it's a game and THEY own the game board. Be prepared to play the game or be prepared to have a LONG haul to push that rock up the hill.

Also let us not forget the Film God. If the Film God smiles on you, no matter WHAT you do, WHAT you shoot on, or WHO'S in your movie, you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams, but the Film God is also a very mysterious god who bestows his blessings on the chosen VERY few. It is best to try and appease him by watching those whom he has blessed and doing what they do then sacrificing at the alter of "It worked before, it should work again....but not TOO much" :D

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 08 March 2008 - 03:35 AM.

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#20 Freya Black

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 08:16 AM

The problem is also in addition to people spitting out anything that resembles a film on video no matter HOW bad it is, is that video looks like video. I've heard more than once how bad Inland Empire looks from several people. Now if a master like David Lynch, who is possible the greatest visual filmmaker alive can't make make video work.....something to think about and also Blair Witch was an adoration that will probably never be duplicated. It's real genius was in marketing it's concept. It took years of internet hype to get it sold. It's worth a look for that reason alone because it could inspire someone to think outside the box and create an equally brilliant marketing campaign that will give similar results.


To be fair to Inland Empire, I think it looks okay on DVD, it just looks like crap on the big screen.
Also I've met people who saw it on the big screen and didn't seem to notice how bad it looked. However that does shock me a little because I'm quite a fan of low resolution. I have made a fair few things on the pxl2000 and I like old tube video cameras and all kinds of stuff, but I just felt it noticeably detracted from the film, how soft and mushy it was. I can't believe anybody else could have seen it on the big screen and not really noticed.

It is however a great film, and on DVD it looks preety good. Okay it was shot on a PD-150 (I'm convinced David felt it suited Inland Empire because of its reputation as the porn video camera) but it still looks quite good considering.

Also in the case of Mr Lynch, it helped him get his film made and out there so it was actually quite good for him to be able to shoot on video but then he has a name, and most of us do not.

love

Freya
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